FLORENCE, AZ - ALmost half of all animals taken in by Pinal County Animal Care & Control in 2012 were released for rescue or public adoption. That's a stark contrast to 2010 when Pinal County took in 8,176 animals and less than a quarter were released.
"Our relationship with animal rescue groups coupled with increased public outreach efforts has resulted in dramatically higher live animal releases - an 81 percent increase from 2010 to 2012," Kaye Dickson, Animal Care & Control Director said.
A total of 3,456 animals were adopted in 2012 with more than 2,335 of those animals being released to rescue organizations, a 417 percent increase over 2010. In 2011, 2,480 animals left the shelter with 1,332 going to rescue organizations. In 2010, 1,911 animals found new homes with 452 going to rescue.
In August 2011, the county facilitated a policy development workshop between animal advocates, county staff and the rescue community. The outcome was the Board of Supervisors' approval of the Pinal County New Hope Adoption Policy. The policy allows rescue organizations to pull animals from the shelter and provide spay/neuter and vaccination records back to the county.
"The ordinance and New Hope policies don't simply relocate the problem. We really took steps to ensure that we established policy guidelines that hold our staff and the rescues accountable for the animals' welfare," Kaye Dickson, Animal Care & Control Director explained. "We require the rescues to meet a specific deadline for vaccinating, licensing and spay and neuter surgery."
The euthanasia rate has been cut by 43 percent from 2010 to 2012.
"We can't be selective in the animals we accept like private animal welfare and shelter groups. We are an open admission county shelter. Because we get wild/feral cats and dogs, injured animals and very sick animals, we will always have some level of euthanasia " Dickson said. "We get animals in very sad shape and in those situations, putting the animal to sleep is the humane thing to do. Believe me, we hate putting animals down. That's why we are so happy to see the numbers continue to drop."
Animal overpopulation continues to be a serious community issue throughout the United States, Dickson said.
"Shelters are always full and we see no end to the problem of unwanted animals filling our shelters until more people spay and neuter their pets," Dickson said. "Anyone facing the possibility fo giving up a pet is urged to try to network that pet into another home, either through rescue groups or through personal contacts. If it's a behavioral issue that makes a pet undesirable, please talk to us or other animal welfare organizations. We can usually point people in the direction of help with temperament or other pet problems."
Pinal County Animal Care & Control lists its adoptable animals on the website www.petharbor.com. To search for adoptable animals, enter your zip code and click on the "Adopt a Pet" button in the left side. Then check the button for Pinal County Animal Care & Control. This site also includes animals that are picked up by field officers so www.petharbor.com is an excellent source to find a lost pet. By law, Animal Care & Control must hold stray animals for a minimum of 72 hours before making animals available to adoption to allow owners time to find and recover a lost pet.
To learn more about Pinal County's shelter go to